How to Scripturally Study the Bible?

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Joh 5:39 – Search the scriptures…

2Ti 2:15 – Study to show yourself approved…rightly dividing the word of truth

2Ti 3:15-17 – …from a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation…

Act 17:11 – The Bereans were more noble…because they searched the scriptures daily

Mar 12:24 – Do you not therefore err not knowing the scriptures…?

Anyone with whom God’s Spirit is working wants to know the truth of the Word of God. If that desire to know the mind of God is strong enough, the search for the truth will not be confined to church doctrine nor to any school of thought.

What the local pastor may think or what some popular, well known evangelist or friends and family, whom we love and respect, may think will become completely irrelevant when we grasp the true significance of the words of our Savior; “It is the Spirit that gives life. The words that I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life” (Joh 6:63).

There is a spirit that argues “You are like the Pharisees; you know the letter of the scriptures, but you don’t know the spirit of the scriptures.” Christ said that the Pharisees did not know the scriptures.

Mat 22:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

Had the Pharisees known the scriptures, they would have known Christ. Otherwise, the admonition of Christ to the Pharisees to “search the scriptures…these are they which testify of me” would have been meaningless.

Joh 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Christ said “words… are spirit.” (Joh 6:63) So if we know God’s word, we will not err.

Now anyone who knows the scriptures at all is aware of the statement of Paul “knowledge puffs up, but charity builds up” (1Co 8:1). Anyone studying the word of God to edify himself obviously doesn’t really know the word of God.

It is not the purpose of this Web page to impute motives to anyone for believing anything. God works with each of his creatures as He sees fit. Only He is sovereign. And it is with that firm conviction that we offer this Web page on how to scripturally study the scriptures.

I am a graduate of a bible college. Yet I always wondered how anyone could say authoritatively “this Greek (or Hebrew) word appears only five times in the original manuscripts and means such and such.” I had learned from a well known evangelist that when the disciples asked Christ “What shall be the sign of your coming and of the end of the world” (Mat 24:3) that the word here translated “world” was actually the Greek word “aion” meaning “age.” So what the disciples were actually asking was “What shall be the sign… of the end of the age?”

I didn’t just take his word for this. I bought myself a Young’s Concordance, looked up “world” in Mat 24:3 and, sure enough, there it was: 28 entries – “Age, indefinite time, dispensation, aion.” I was content with this knowledge and with my Young’s Concordance for as long as the Lord wanted me to remain content, which was for three more years of my college career.

But eventually, I noticed repeatedly that when I really wanted to find out what the original word was, it was not in my incomplete Young’s. So I graduated to using a Complete and Exhaustive Strong’s Concordance. Strong’s seemed awkward at first, having to find a number before you could find a word. But the assurance that every word in scripture was in there and that all I needed was a question about any word in the King James English Bible and I was sure to find the original word, made it indespinsible.

Then I discovered that the word “worlds” in Heb 1:2 was also actually “aion.” This listing (“worlds”) didn’t even appear in my Young’s, and I had to have it pointed out that there was another English word translated from the Greek word “aion.” Over the next several years, I was to learn that there are thirteen different English words and phrases translated from that one Greek word “aion.” Suddenly, my Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance that I had thought so much of for so long seemed totally inadequate. How was I to do an effective word study with an English concordance when the original Greek or Hebrew or Chaldee might have a dozen different English translations? How was I to know whether or not this was the case for the word translated “work” (Greek: “ergon”)? Did it also have thirteen other English translations? How about the word “comforter” (Greek: “parakleetos”)? Does it also have thirteen English translations? I had become painfully aware of how much I was at the mercy of the translators.

God was saying I was called in Christ “before times eonian” (2 Ti 1:9; KJV “before the world began”). So the eons must have a beginning. But the translators called it “eternal” or “forever” or “world.”

The disciples asked Christ “what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the world?” (Mat 24:3) The word here translated “world” is “aion.” So the eons have an end. But the translators read “world” or “everlasting” or “forever and ever” or “course” or “evermore” or “world without end” and on and on. Thirteen different words and phrases are used for one Greek word. How could this be? By what method or by what authority was this done? Had scripture been allowed to interpret scripture by the translators? Was it possible that the translators of 1611 in the hire of King James had allowed church doctrine or the pressure of their fellow scholars to influence their decisions? Well, I didn’t know the answers to those questions, but thirteen different words and phrases for one word seemed just a bit inconsistent to me.

If only I could know every instance where the Greek word “aion” appeared in scriptures without first having to figure out just how many different English words were used by the translators. It would be cumbersome, but it would be almost like reading the original. “What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age” is obviously a much better translation than “end of the world.” God’s own word would be my guide to the best understanding. I would be at the mercy of no man. I would know what God had actually said without the influence and bias of any man or institution! Oh, it would be so nice if someone just had an exhaustive concordance that would give me the original Greek or Hebrew first and then listed all the instances where the original word appeared. This refrain was to become my mantra for close to two decades.

Then one year, I attended a Bible conference in South Carolina. Following the service, I ran my mantra by the Pastor who was hosting the conference.

I said, “You know, it seems to me that there ought to be a book out there somewhere that would list the original first. Then you wouldn’t have to figure out how many different ways the translators saw fit to use the word. You could decide for yourself between God and you what any word meant just by considering the context in which it was used.”

“Isn’t that what Wigram’s does?” he replied, as casually as if he thought everyone was familiar with Wigram’s.

I had never heard of Wigram’s, but if it did do that, I wanted it regardless of price.

This book is actually two volumes; “The Englishman’s Greek Concordance of the New Testament” and “The Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance of the Old Testament,” both by George V. Wigram. I immediately called every Bible book store in and around my area. No one that I talked to had even heard of them. In hindsight, I was amazed that my Bible college professors had never referred to them. These invaluable resources have been available since 1843, and generally speaking, only the academic elite are aware of their existence. [Ed note: A set of Wigram’s can be purchased from for under $60.00 for the set – 9/7/99; often they can be found on or on eBay for half or less of the retail price.]

I finally found a source and acquired my own copy of each volume. Now, for the first time, I could thoroughly “search the scriptures . . . to see whether these things were so” (Act 17:11) and “try the spirits whether they are of God” (1Jn 4:1). Remember Joh 6:63 – “words . . . are spirit.” To try the spirits, we must know the words of God. In 1Jn 4:6 we read “… he that knows God hears us; he that is not of God hears not us. Hereby know we the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error.” Christ said “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (Joh 8:32). The “us” of 1Jn 4:6 is Christ and the apostles and the prophets (Eph 2:20). The truth of Joh 8:32 is the Bible, the “word” of God (Joh 17:17).

These are powerful truths and promises, but they hinge on our knowledge of His word. If God is talking about an age, and we think he is talking about eternity, we will, like the Pharisees “… err not knowing the scriptures” (Mat 22:29).

If you’re looking for your own copies of these indespensible resources, call your local Christian bookstore. If you have difficulty finding them, then contact T and D Christian Sales Bookstore: P. O. Box 4140 Cleveland, TN 37320. For faster service (orders only) call 1-800-423-9595. [Ed note: Since this writing many bookstores now carry the set of Wigram’s Concordances, also many bible bookstores.]

If you have any comments or questions, please direct them to vinsmike@ gmail. com.

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